It is “propaganda” talk for the legal team of former President John Mahama, the petitioner in the ongoing election petition, to impute that the Electoral Commission is hiding something for refusing to produce its original documents concerning the presidential results of the 2020 polls, Information Minister-designate Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has told journalists after the Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, declined Mr Mahama’s request for the documents.
He said the EC has “already provided sunshine to these matters at the 38,000 polling stations in the country, at the 275 constituency collation centres, at the 16 regional collation centres and then at the national collation centre and has made all those relevant documents in accordance with Rule 44 of CI 127 available to all parties”.
“When you come to court beyond that and you want to invoke the discretionary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, to inspect the so-called originals, there’s a legal standard you must meet, the legal standard is not the propaganda question of: ‘If you have nothing to hide, why don’t you show me?’ It’s not in the law”, he noted.
The Ofoase Ayirebi MP added: “The law says that you have to show what we called necessity to fairly dispose of the matter and that if it is not done, the matter cannot be fairly disposed of; that you must show that there is necessity to reduce the cost of litigation”.
“As you heard the counsel for the Petitioner argue, he was not able to satisfy that threshold so … don’t fall for the propaganda argument they make on the side”, he noted.
The panel of Justices, after arguments from Mr Mahama’s lead counsel Tsatsu Tsikata and counter-arguments from the lead counsel of the first and second respondents, respectively, ruled that the former President had not demonstrated the amount of necessity needed to grant such a request.
The presidential candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), filed the application on Tuesday.
So far, Mr Mahama, who is challenging the validity of the 2020 presidential results, has had two of his witnesses – Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of the NDC; and Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte, who served as an observation agent of the party – appear before the court to give evidence and get cross-examined.
Mr Mahama, through his legal team led by Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, wanted access to the EC’s original constituency presidential election result collation forms for all constituencies, constituency presidential election results summary sheet, regional presidential election summary sheets for all regions, and the declaration of the presidential results form.
Mr Mahama filed the application after the EC turned down his earlier requests to that end.
Among other things, Mr Tsikata argued in court on Wednesday that the documents were required for a fair hearing and wondered what the EC could be hiding by its refusal to release them for inspection.
In his view, it was in the interest of the EC for the documents to be released if it truly believed in transparency.
However, Mr Amenuvor, lead counsel for the EC, first respondent, raised issues with the timing of the request and said the Petitioner was resorting to the request to aid him to adduce further evidence but said evidence cannot be led in a piecemeal manner.
He also wondered why the Petitioner would make such a request when he had all the duplicate copies of the documents in question.
Similarly, Mr Akoto Ampaw, lead counsel for President Nana Akufo-Addo, the second respondent, told the court that the “Petitioner was using the right to a fair hearing to conjure away the burden of proof” since, according to him, he had all the carbon copies of the documents he wanted to request.
Both counsel for the two respondents insisted that the Petitioner’s application did not meet the necessity requirement.